Liam Robinson, Horror Collectibles

Liam Robinson collects horror movie memorabilia. In this edition of Collector Spotlight, Liam shares his approach to creating a one-of-a-kind collection and discloses the 1981 horror classic that unexpectedly introduced him to the genre.

How do you describe your collection?

I describe it as being like if Toys “R” Us was owned by Satan — that’s what my collection room looks like.

I think Evil Dead is the most prominent horror franchise in my collection. It’s my favourite. Second to that is Freddy Krueger from the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Without a doubt, Freddy Krueger is the horror character that has the most merchandise available. I think if you collected horror figures, even if A Nightmare on Elm Street wasn’t your favourite franchise, you’d end up with more Freddy Krueger stuff in your collection just because of how much of it there is out there.

My collection is made up of a lot of the mainstream horror stuff, but I do like it when companies make figures from lesser-known horror films or more niche films. I try to collect some of that as well. Obviously, companies want to make money and they are going to do that with a figure of Freddy Krueger more so than they would with an obscure horror character. But, it is nice when it does happen.

During the past year or so, I’ve actually bought more items for the collection from independent artists. Probably the best example of this is the wall sculpture of Jack Nicholson from The Shining created by The Evil Shed. It’s unreal — it’s become one of my favourite things in the collection. It’s so life-like and so much cooler than what a lot of other companies are putting out.

Particularly right now, I feel like we live in a time with so much nostalgia. Just looking at the movies themselves, how everything’s rebooted, The Halloween movies have been rebooted recently. These classic franchises that keep getting rebooted because there’s more public interest. Everyone’s a nerd these days. That’s not how it used to be., I think people used to frown upon nerds and geeks. But now, people almost expect you to be one. Companies are doubling down on that — there’s more merchandise than ever before. Even in just the horror genre, new things get pumped out every week.

NECA always makes great top-quality stuff. I try to collect all of them but I tend to avoid collecting things like Funko POP!, for example. I’ve spoken openly about this many times — it’s become a bit of a joke with my friends but I despise Funko POP! figures. The figures probably cost fifty cents to make. They do conventions exclusives that are the same figure just painted differently or it glows in the dark and they’ll charge more money for those. Some companies just pump all this stuff out because it’s easy to produce but I don’t know why people buy them.

I avoid that kind of stuff. I’ve pretty much run out of space so I’m really selective with what I buy. And, rather than try to collect everything, I save up money to buy more high-end collectibles.

In terms of just the figures, I have about 140. I also have other objects such as posters that have become a favourite over the past couple of years and I like to get the posters signed by the celebrities at fan conventions. I do have a lot of action figures signed, too. Recently, I’ve leaned towards the posters and art prints because they just look so nice with the signatures of the cast and director. Those signatures make Holy Grail items for me.

I’m a bit of a freak — one night I sat in my bedroom and wondered how many times Bruce Campbell’s face appears. It’s quite a scary number.

When and why did you start your collection?

I’m 24 — I started collecting properly when I was around 14 or 15.

From the time I got my first job, I thought, “Oh, I’m getting grown-up money now” and wanted to spend that grown-up money on things I shouldn’t.

I’ve been into horror films all my life, it’s my favourite thing. The first horror movie I ever saw was An American Werewolf in London. My dad had the VHS tape — I remember at about five years old walking into the room while it was playing and it scared the hell out of me. But, even though it terrified me, I was like, “What what was that?!” I didn’t even know horror films existed. Not long after that, I snuck into my brother’s room even though I wasn’t allowed to go in there. He had quite a lot of DVDs at the time — I took Child’s Play. That, in my opinion, is the best introductory horror film I could have picked because it’s that campy ’80s thing. It can be yucky and stuff but it’s not too scary. For a young kid, it was still exciting.

My horror obsession started with a bit of a Chucky obsession. When I was eight years old, my dad bought me a Chucky action figure. It was a 12-inch NECA figure that came out in 2008. I begged him for it. I don’t think he was too happy about buying it for me, but I must have really annoyed him because he bought it. Then I got my first computer and saw that there were a lot of horror figures out there and that people collect this stuff and I always wanted to do it. When I got my first job, I felt like “Okay, now’s my time.”

I still have that first Chucky figure. I’ve never sold anything from my collection.

How do you display and store your collection?

I redecorated the room in 2016 and really wanted to plan it out. I needed to think about the longevity of how things were displayed and how it would look as I added more to the space.

I’m someone who likes to keep my figures in the box. People sometimes assume that it’s because I’m going to sell my collection down the line but I just prefer the way it looks — it’s tidy. Some collectors unbox and display their items but it just looks like a shelf full of figures to me. I like the neatness of how the boxed figures look almost like books when they are on the shelf. It looks pleasing. There’s painted artwork on the packaging of the NECA retro clothed figures. It’s done by a guy named Jason Edmiston. It’s absolutely stunning. To me, it would be a massive shame not to display them in the box when the artwork is so stunning.

Things really fell into place. I put up the art prints — they go from floor to ceiling — in one area. I had a lot of NECA retro clothed figures. They line up along the ceiling. I bought a floating shelf that helps save space. I highly recommend that people take the time to plan things out and see where things fit perfectly. It’s extremely rewarding.

What do you consider to be the Holy Grail of your collection?

It’s difficult to say because a couple of years ago, I decided that I can’t collect every figure. I’m going to have to be selective with what I buy, mainly due to space. This is something I actually did think about — what does a Holy Grail mean to me and what could I do with all these items?

I decided I wanted to have Freddy Krueger signed by Robert England. I feel like that’d be a Holy Grail. I wanted Brad Dourif to sign a Chucky doll. This seemed like the epitome of what I could do with the collectibles. And that’s what I did — I got the Chucky doll signed by Brad Dourif. I had Robert England sign my Freddy glove. I even got my chainsaw from Evil Dead II signed by Bruce Campbell.

I have a Friday the 13th movie poster that is signed by a ton of the cast members. At a recent German fan convention, I had it signed by director Sean Cunningham also. That’s a Holy Grail because it’s hard to get anything like that with so many signatures on it.

I have A Nightmare on Elm Street poster signed by every cast member with the exception of Johnny Depp. I don’t think  he’ll be signing it any time soon but I’ll never say never.

Traveling around to conventions can cost a lot of money and time. The best convention I’ve ever been to was Texas Frightmare Weekend. Evil Dead director Sam Raimi was there and he signed all three of my Evil Dead posters. I have Bruce Campbell’s signatures on all three of them as well.  I have Billy Bryan’s signature on an Army of Darkness poster. He was a stunt actor on the film and also played the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters is one of my favourite films.

Getting autographs is something I love to do, that’s what excites me — that’s the stuff I want in my collection. I had to go out there and make it happen.

What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a horror-themed collection?

My number-one rule is to collect what you love. I think that is the most important thing for any collector to do.

Some people collect anything they see. People can do whatever they want, of course. But, I do think in collecting and when it comes to trends and companies pushing something and just pumping things out to prey on collectors, it can lead down a hole of being bankrupt, for one. But, secondly, you’re not necessarily collecting things that are important to you in the end and you may wonder why you bought some of these things.

Your heart should always be in it.

See more of Liam’s collection on his A Real Horror Show YouTube channel.

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